Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#15 Drainage

The first question most people ask the golf maintenance industry is, “what do you do in the winter months”?  Well, that’s a great question.  As mowing activities slow and the growing season comes to an end, operations shift to tasks such as drainage.
The true definition of drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area.  Recently, the fifteenth hole next to the cart path received a bit of both.  The turf was removed along with accumulated sediment.  (Photo #1)  Next, four inch pipe was installed to pick up any subsurface water, in conjunction with catch basins to collect excess water flow from the cart path.  The trenches were then filled with stone, allowing water to travel into the pipe. (Photo #2)  The entire area was graded and smoothed to prepare for sod.  (Photo #3)  The area now has sod and is ready for play! (Photo #4)  There are similar areas that will be addressed as the winter continues. 
We’d like to hear from you, leave your comments about this blog below.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Deep Tine Aerification: The tines are changing.

The sun is shinning, the birds are singing and you have just reached the first green in regulation.  As you approach the green your ball is only six feet away from the pin!  Then, you see those little holes and think “why do they have to punch holes in the greens?”
The key reasons are to allow oxygen to the roots,  relieve soil compaction and remove excess thatch.  This can be done a variety of ways and to varying depths.  The most common approach typically occurs in the top four inches of the soil.  This area is important because most of the root system and thatch can be found there.  However, years of punching holes to the same depth can create potential problems, a “plow layer”.  The term plow layer originated from farmers who plowed their fields to the same depth each year.  Over time a hard pan (non permeable) layer was created which proved deadly to many crops.  The same principal can be applied to the golf course green from years of aeration to the same depth.  This problem is addressed using a specialty deep tine aerifier that can punch holes up to twelve inches deep.  By varying the depth of the aerification hole such layers can be avoided.  Thus, allowing water to pass through the soil profile and deeper roots.  The excess water can then enter the subsurface drainage systems located under each green.  
The greens are being deep tined this week and should be finished by Friday.  We are using a solid tine, which will cause a minimal surface disturbance.  The greens will be rolled upon completion to smooth any uneven areas. 
Thanks for your continued support!
Assistant Superintendent Adam Rice deep tines greens.

Frost: The Cold Facts

As temperatures continue to plummet through the fall and winter months, so does the likelihood of frost delays.  During these conditions damage can occur from equipment and foot traffic.  As winter continues, lets take a look at the reason these delays are necessary.

Frost occurs when turfgrass plants re-radiate heat (exothermic reaction) and lose heat to the atmosphere.  If plant temperatures are cooler than the air, moisture from the atmosphere will form on the leaf blade.  When the leaf temperatures drop below freezing this moisture becomes frost.  However, it is not uncommon to see frost even if temperatures are in the mid thirties.

 Frost typically forms in early morning before sunrise. This is because the plant has been re-radiating energy through the night and will be coolest at daybreak.  It may continue to form past daybreak due to the low light angles not hitting the leaf blade.

Once frost has formed, equipment and foot traffic will rupture the plant cells.  This unsightly damage can last into spring or until new leafs replace them.  The golf course maintenance staff constantly monitors the frost and strives to get you on the golf course as quickly as possible.

Frost on cool season turf

Check out this informative video from the USGA